The Hawaiian Islands are as unique as they are isolated, and there are countless Americans – and foreigners – who save for years just to be able to afford to visit our beautiful islands. But in addition to saving their extra pennies and putting in overtime at work, they should also be doing their homework. Even as an American, traveling to Hawaii can be met with some culture shock, and it is important that tourists understand certain things before their plane lands on Hawaiian soil; here are 12 of those things.
1. Life moves slowly in Hawaii.
There’s no need to rush when you’re on island time; so, sit back, relax, and enjoy the scenery.
2. We are not all Hawaiians.
Shocker, only about 10 percent of Hawaii residents are actually Hawaiian and can trace their roots to the islands’ first settlers. The rest are just Hawaii locals.
3. Hawaii used to be ruled by a monarchy.
And we are the only state to celebrate royal figures.
4. And the Hawaiian sovereignty movement is alive and well.
There are various grassroots organizations and cultural groups who advocate for sovereignty. It is an extremely complicated movement, and, as a transplant, I can’t begin to understand the complexities of these issues.
5. There is a major homelessness epidemic in Honolulu.
So, please, do not joke about how you would live on the beach if you could only call Hawaii home.
6. It’s not soy sauce, it’s shoyu.
Sure, we might still understand you when you say soy sauce, but just, don’t.
7. Our weather isn’t always perfect, all the time.
It does rain here quite a bit, and there is no way your shorts and tank tops are going to cut it when you head to higher elevation - especially Mauna Kea, which does occasionally get snow in the winter.
8. Kapu means forbidden.
This is merely a friendly reminder that you should respect any and all signs reading “Kapu.”
9. Hawaii is astronomically expensive.
Do your research before you vacation in Hawaii. No one wants to hear about how shocked you are about the price of a gallon of gas, or a burger.
10 Men can dance the hula, too.
In fact, men used to practice the hula in preparation for battle. You can thank Hollywood for the stereotype of women in grass skirts and coconut bras…
11. You must give respect to receive it.
The Hawaiian Islands may be full of Aloha spirit, but you aren’t going to experience any of it if you don’t have a little respect for the land and the people who live here.
12. Hawaii is unique in not only its scenery, but its culture; embrace it.
The beautiful Aloha state is perhaps the most unique in the country, and unless you embrace the culture and lifestyle, you’ll never fully enjoy the islands.